Developing Channel Partner Training Programs on a Tight Budget: Tips and Strategies

28th April 2023

Business partnership coworkers using a tablet to analysis graph company financial budget report and cost work progress and planning for future in office room.

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More often than not, creating, maintaining and delivering successful training programs comes with budgetary challenges. 

In our experience, the cost of producing valuable, engaging content is often overlooked or grossly underestimated. It’s crucial to understand that the initial cost is usually down to creating high-value content. 

In general, there are options to help solve budgetary challenges, including phased approaches and selling courses.

In this blog, we explain what factors you need to account for when budgeting for training program development, how you can utilise a phased approach and how to generate an ongoing revenue stream by selling your courses. 

Read on for more…

When Allocating a Budget For Your Training Program, What Should You Include?

The cost of producing training content

The quality of training material must be paid attention to. Learners will only be happy to pay a premium for the content they see value in. Content has to be continually refreshed, with new updates and changes constantly communicated.

The cost of the LMS

Correct and comparable pricing cannot be provided unless you know your exact requirements. First things first, work with your shortlist of LMS vendors to develop an RFP (request for proposal) document. That should ensure all bases are covered with your requirements.

The cost of administering and managing the training program

To gain maximum return on investment, your training program must be managed and optimised effectively.

Training programs are not set and forget. Tweaks and updates will always be necessary to keep it meeting your objectives and those of your learners.

How to Reduce Initial Course Production Costs

One of the biggest challenges in creating a successful channel partner training program is the cost of course production. To use your budget effectively, take a strategic approach and focus on areas that provide high value to you and your partners.

Take a strategic view of the program’s aims 

Before starting to develop a training program, a clear understanding of your objectives and aligning them with your strategic goals is essential. This will help you identify the topics that provide value to your partners and your organisation and provide you with a starting point for your program. Conducting a thorough needs analysis will help you identify gaps in your partners’ knowledge and develop relevant and valuable content.

Start small and then build 

Developing a simple training program based on the initial aims determined by your strategic research will meet the needs of many organisations and offer a very cost-effective starting point. Once the value and success of the course have been determined, you can expand and refine the content to meet the needs of your partners.

Simplify course design 

Creating a visually appealing and engaging training course is important, but it’s also essential to remember that complex course designs can be costly to produce. A simple design with clear and concise information, interspersed with knowledge checks, can often be just as effective. You can also utilise online tools and resources to help create engaging content without the need for extensive design work.

What Other Costs Do You Need To Look At?

An effective training program that continually meets its objectives and learner needs isn’t just about the learning platform. Before developing the training program, ongoing management and how to keep content fresh and up to date must be considered.

In the initial stages, there are some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Do we have a team in place to support and manage the training program in-house?
  • How will we create high-quality, value learning content?
  • Is there a budget available to employ design, administration and support teams?
  • How will you manage additional teams?
  • If training is not your speciality, do you have the knowledge to hire the right people?

Will My Partners Pay for Training?

An alternative to a phased approach is launching the program with a cost that is passed on to your channel partners.

Many businesses that offer training don’t contemplate the value high-quality online training content gives to the learner.  

When training content is created and marketed correctly, it’s possible to offset the training program costs by selling value-driven, highly relevant courses.

If you understand the benefits of a training program but need to run it with a minimal budget, recognise that your training has value to your partners and then sell that value to them.

Good partners will acknowledge that training is a key element of a successful partnership. The more knowledge they have, the more effective they will be at selling your products which, of course, benefits both parties. 

Once your partners fully understand the benefits your training program brings to them and how it will help them reach their goals, they will most likely be happy to pay for it. Training is a cost that partners are willing to take on as long as the outlay is considered to be fair and they are gaining value. It’s also worth noting here that there will be no travel time and expense attached to online training.

Related Resrouce: How to Sell Your Channel Partner Training Program

To help motivate your partners to purchase courses, build incentive programs. For example, offer bulk buy discounts or other discounts relating to partner tiers and statuses. 

A valuable asset of a training program is certification. A well-structured certification scheme recognises the effort people put in, builds a level of healthy competition between partners and offers additional opportunities for promotion. For your organisation, certification offers end-users confidence and trust in your brand. 

The cost of training passed on to your partner doesn’t have to be great. If you utilise economies of scale, training costs can be kept low while still offsetting the cost of the overall program – and without requiring internal resources and expertise to administer and run it.

How and Why Monetising Works

When something is paid for, whether it’s training courses or the latest tech, it tends to be seen as holding more value. Also, if a partner has paid for a course, they are also more likely to engage fully with it so completion rates will be higher.

Partners will also see value in having access to constantly updated training material and the ability to keep their knowledge fresh and up to date.

For your training to give the best value to your partners, you should make sure you offer:

  • Knowledge that they can’t find elsewhere
  • A competitive advantage
  • Relevant material for their particular role in the network
  • Relevant material to localised markets

CASE STUDY: Discover How we Support CommScope’s Training Program

What To Have In Place To Ensure Courses Can Be Sold

To ensure your courses can be marketed and sold effectively, you need high-quality, valuable training content that’s delivered on an LMS (with an integrated shop function, giving partners the confidence to buy online). It’s also important to have support available to optimise your program, raise invoices and deal with customer queries.

How to Manage the Process

As part of our Managed Learning Service, we offer our customers a full eCommerce management service that covers the entire course sales process. 

By allowing us to work on your behalf, you can be confident that your learners receive the highest level of quality and service, without the need to use any internal time or resources. 

Without this service, sales opportunities could be missed, the program won’t be optimised for sales and without support, learners will lose confidence in your brand. 

Our LMS offers:

  • Simple booking management
  • Secure payment gateway
  • Fully integrated shop with no redirects
  • Flexible discount or subscription functionality    
  • A clear, integrated catalogue

As part of our managed learning services, we offer:

  • Management of discount and subscription promos
  • Course design
  • Learner support for course choice and booking
  • Processing payments and refunds where necessary
  • Invoicing
  • Regular revenue reports


Developing effective channel partner training programs on a tight budget can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. By leveraging technology, collaborating with partners, and repurposing existing resources, you can create impactful training programs without breaking the bank. 

Some key takeaways are:

  • Take a strategic approach to content
  • Ensure your initial launch plan offers the highest value to your audience
  • Understand the value of your training 
  • Ensure your training content is high-quality
  • Continually communicate the value to your audience
  • Have the best LMS and support infrastructure in place

With the right strategies and a willingness to be creative, you can successfully develop and implement channel partner training programs that drive success and growth.

By outsourcing the leg work to us and working closely with us to launch and promote it effectively, you give your organisation the best chance at becoming a trusted training provider.

Discover how Wahoo Learning’s Managed Learning Services can help solve your resource issues with creating and managing training programs. Click to read ‘Everything You Need to Know About Our Managed Learning Services‘ and explore how we can support your training needs.


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